Words by Tess Becker
Today, college in the United States is more expensive than its ever been, with it costing, on average, more than $35,000 per year per student. On top of that, most jobs, require some form of schooling gatekeeping some of the jobs lowest on the totem pole.
With all that in mind, some places in the US are working on programs that make college affordable and accessible to most people.
Take Boston, Massachusetts for example. The city already had a provision in place that provided community college for free to many people but they’ve recently expanded the program to include all city residents regardless of age, income, or immigration status.
Starting in the fall, any resident in the city will be able to pursue an associate's degree or certificate at 6 different partnering institutions without any cost. This will also include a $250 stipend for incidental costs like books and up to $2,500 of debt relief for students whose account balances are keeping them from re-enrolling.
“College is too important to be limited to those who can afford it,” the plan says. “The Tuition-Free Community College (TFCC) Plan pays for up to three years of tuition and fees for all Boston residents pursuing an associate degree or certificate program at a partner college.”
A federal investment of $4 million helped expand the program.
“Every Boston resident who wants to earn the skills and knowledge to give back to our communities and build a life here should be able to do so,” Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said.
The Boston area college program is part of a wider statewide campaign to make schooling more accessible. This includes programs like MassReconect which helps people over the age of 25 afford to go back to college.